Our five to watch for BBC Sports Personality of the Year

25 November 2014 / 12:17

The BBC's 2014 Sports Personality of the Year awards are almost upon us, so we’re taking a look at the five athletes who have shone in Olympic disciplines over the past 12 months and celebrate their achievements.


Charlotte Dujardin

After claiming individual and team dressage gold at the London 2012 Olympics, Charlotte Dujardin and her horse Valegro were in no mood to slow down, rubberstamping their authority over the last 12 months.

The 29-year-old made history by winning two gold medals at the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, becoming the first British equestrian rider to be Olympic, world and European champion at the same time.

Dujardin picked up gold in the freestyle and grand prix special, plus a silver in the team event once again aboard Valegro, while at Olympia she won the London stage of the dressage World Cup and holds the world record in all three elements of her sport.

She has already been named the 2014 Sky Sports & Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year and on Sunday will be looking to become the third equestrian rider to be voted as BBC Sports Personality of the Year with Prince Anne and her daughter Zara Phillips topping the polls in 1971 and 2006 respectively.


Jo Pavey

Jo Pavey proved age is nothing but a number this year as she won her first major championship gold medal with victory in the 10,000m at the European Championships in Zurich.

This title arrived just weeks before her 41st birthday, making her the oldest-ever female European champion, while ten days previously she had won 5000m bronze at the Commonwealth Games.

And all this after Pavey had returned to the track in May and went on to win the 10,000m at the British Championships eight months after giving birth to her second child.

Should she top the polls on December 14 Pavey would add a second award to her glittering 2014 CV after being named female athlete of the year by the British Athletics Writers’ Association.

Although athletics leads the way in terms of Sports Personality winners with 17, Pavey would become the first runner to triumph since Dame Kelly Holmes in 2004.


Adam Peaty

Adam Peaty announced himself on the world stage in a big way in 2014 as he collected an impressive haul of medals and smashed records along the way.

It all started in Glasgow at the Commonwealth Games were the 19-year-old, representing Team England, won gold in the 100m breaststroke and 4x100m medley relay and a silver in the 50m breaststroke.

However he wasn’t done there, going on to win four gold medals at the European Championships in Berlin, including setting a new 50m breaststroke world record along the way.

The last swimmer to be named Sports Personality was Anita Lonsbrough back in 1962, who became the first woman to win the award upon topping the polls.


Max Whitlock

Whatever competition Max Whitlock entered in 2014 he starred in – the 21-year-old never far away from the podium.

It all started at the European Championships in Sofia where he upgraded his pommel horse bronze from the previous year to a gold, as well as helping Great Britain to silver in the team competition.

Whitlock then represented Team England at the Commonwealth Games and left Glasgow with five medals around his neck, including team, all-around and floor gold, silver in the pommel horse and parallel bars bronze.

However he still had plenty left in the tank as he travelled to Nanning for the World Championships to add all-around silver to his impressive collection.

A gymnast has never been crowned Sports Personality although Beth Tweddle did make the shortlist five years ago.


Lizzy Yarnold

Lizzy Yarnold arrived at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics as favourite for the women’s skelton title – and she didn’t disappoint.

Ahead of her arrival in Russia, Yarnold had been crowned the overall World Cup winner for the 2013/14 season, having climbed the podium in seven of the eight races, winning gold four times.

And she went on to dominate in the Olympic skeleton competition, winning Team GB’s only gold medal of the Games and just the tenth in history.

There was even more to celebrate for Yarnold too with her winning margin of 0.97 seconds the second largest ever at the Games.

Interestingly, Yarnold wasn't born when Britain's last Winter Olympians succeeded at the Sports Personality awards – Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean – triumphed in 1984.


© Sportsbeat 2014